Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper said:
"Litter is a problem in many parts of the borough but is this how police resources are best utilised? The Council has its own Environmental Health enforcement officers who undertake this same work as well as a dedicated team of Streetscene staff.
Cllr Harper added:
“I am surprised that littering is seen as such a priority for Police chiefs and I’m sure that the people of my ward and elsewhere in Wrecsam would be equally surprised. It's also a concern that PCSOs, who are partly funded by Wrecsam Council, are being driven by a target culture that bears no relation to the needs of the community. I’m sure people would want to see Police resources targeted towards catching drug dealers, burglars and violent criminals as well as improving community relations rather than be forced to issue tickets for littering.”
Plaid Cymru has also expressed concern that PCSOs who issue fixed penalty tickets for littering have been instructed to issue the Wrecsam Council tickets, where the fine is £75, rather than the North Wales Police tickets for £50.
Plaid Cymru believes that this action is potentially illegal and make reference to a letter received by the Council from Vernon Coaker MP, a Minister at the Home Office who states that
“PCSOs cannot be appointed as 'authorised officers' of a Local Authority given that they are employed by the Police Authority and as such could not accrue money on behalf of the local authority, and more importantly fulfil a dual function for both authorities at the same time.”
Cllr Harper said:
“I will be writing to the Chair of the Police Authority to seek clarification on whether Community Support Officers employed by North Wales Police can in fact issue tickets for the Council…I would advise any member of the public who find themselves in this situation to challenge the issue of the ticket.”